It’s only fitting for me to write about the last year as a wife as today my husband and I celebrate our one year anniversary! To God be the Glory! Marriage is an immense blessing from God and when two can agree that their covenant is purposeful, great victory takes place. I could write all day about the love story the two of us have and how timing was absolutely everything when you consider when and how we finally began dating but I won’t, I’ll save that for another time. My intent here is to offer advice to my sisters, those of you who desire marriage, are engaged, and perhaps married and unhappy or maybe to those thinking about a divorce. Now I know some of you read that last statement and threw shade my way thinking what advice could I possibly offer after only one year of marriage. You certainly can be the judge of that but understand that I have had years of preparation and I am learning everyday! I’m just one sister trying to help out another sister…giving some strength that I wish someone would have given me.
It’s hard for me to even choose a point to begin with because there are so many branches to this tree that we call marriage. But I’ll first begin with you. You are the biggest branch there is which means you have to know who you are, how to take care of you, what makes you happy and most importantly how to love yourself. All of these points may sound like cliches from history so if you’ve heard them, then master them. They sound simple enough but many find it difficult to develop enough self esteem in their singleness to identify with the woman in the mirror. It’s imperative that you define who you are. I knew before I began dating my husband that I was a child of God who was meant to encourage others. I knew what music, books, and pastimes made me happy. I knew my favorite color-well actually I like all colors but I knew that, I was sure about that. I was comfortable with dating myself, spoiling myself, treating myself to nice things, trips, fancy gifts and expensive pleasures (when I was blessed to be able to afford those things). I could also easily identify my dislikes and was not afraid to say no and was never easily persuaded to do anything that I didn’t want to do. When you master being you, there is a blinding light of confidence that exudes from you. This confidence is necessary in order for you to be the wife that your husband needs you to be. It becomes a tool that you will unconsciously use in certain situations and marital circumstances. Proverbs 31: 10-31
This is what I knew…
- All of us have the capability to wear many hats but take care of home first. If home is slacking, don’t be surprised when other things begin to slack. Never be too busy for home. Home must be his refuge from this mean world that seeks to devour him!
- You can’t say everything you’re thinking-sometimes he just needs you to listen
- Keep yourself looking good, be desirable (you can’t wear those favorite sweatpants everyday even if he says it’s ok)
- Pray with him and for him regularly! Be his covering!
- Don’t be confrontational, think of a creative way to present conversation that may be uncomfortable
- Be Sweet- for no reason at all, just because you love him
- Trust your intuition
- Remain true to yourself and follow your dreams
And lastly but certainly not least but I’m writing it last in case this is all you will remember after reading this:
This is what I have learned…(and still learning)
- Call on the Lord before you call your girlfriends, you cannot share you marital business with “Pam” first and then God last but expect God to fix it. Keep it between you and the Lord. Yes this applies to your BFF, even when it seems impossible to hold in. Just tell God all about and watch him work on your behalf
- If you pray for wisdom, God will give you what to say, how to say it and when to say it ( Ecclesiastes 3)
- Be a praying woman, pray w/out ceasing. Even when he doesn’t, you still pray. Be the rock, be the example, even when you don’t want to
- Study the word of God for instruction, even when you don’t feel like it (Psalms 119: 105)
- Value the art of compromise, don’t think of it as loosing or giving in. Think of it as honoring your covenant (Ephesians 5:24)
- We’ve been given a precious gift of influence. Although they are the head of the house, we have the ability to nurture them towards great decisions and greatness. Identify with your strength
- See him beyond where he is and where he sees himself. Encourage him always. Hold his arms up when they become weak (Exodus 17)
- and most importantly God MUST be the head of your marriage for it to work. Both of you must desire to glorify the Lord through your love for one another. Love is an action, you must do it for your spouse to feel it! Exercise love always! Work it out ladies!
Well here it is the day after Christmas and I am feeling guilty about sleeping in and about not exactly being “productive”. I asked myself why. Why are you feeling guilty about resting? I shared my thoughts with my girlfriend and she quickly reminded me that “even God took a day of rest…”. That was just the reminder that I needed. Although the day of the week is Wednesday and it is not normally considered the Sabbath day in Christian principles, I will treat it as such. With such a busy weekly schedule that includes, work, school, church, mentoring, being a dedicated wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, I must consider these next few vacation days as a divine gift. Scripture tells us that a day of rest is for “reflection and re-creation in honor of the Lord” (Ex. 20:8-11). It’s a day of refreshing, physical rest, and preparation for the Lord to reveal himself. As I pondered on this scripture I asked myself another question, do I ever really take advantage of the Sabbath? My truthful answer is no, not full advantage. I’m sure that you can relate to getting consumed or caught up in our daily routine so much so that we don’t take the time to refresh. Even our computers have a refresh key. It is the key that makes certain we are viewing the most updated version. We should always be operating in the most updated version that the Lord has intended therefore, we need to refresh. How can we be used at our full potential if we are always in the mode of the old version? From this day forward I will deliberately take full advantage of the Sabbath day and I encourage you to do so as well so that we are not so exhausted, overwhelmed by worldly issues, morally weak, susceptible to temptations, emotionally spent, indecisive or experiencing spiritual drought! Now this is not a pass to ignore responsibilities or shut out those who may need you but it is a plea to appreciate the gift of rest. And as I rest over the next few days so that I can refresh I will worship and pray knowing that I am spending valuable time with my creator and that my soul will be restored!
How many times have you asked the question when is it my turn Lord? How many times have you envied someone thinking “why am I always last on the list for the blessing?”. Or how about “they don’t even serve you like I do so why…”?. You may not have said it but you were certainly thinking it. I get it. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment especially when you have petitioned for a certain thing for so long and especially when you think you’ve been obedient or obedient enough to receive what you ask for and especially since the word tells us that we can ask anything in his name and it shall be. Well here is something to ponder my friends. Just as the non-believer cannot only look to their works towards the law of the land as their salvation, the believer cannot ignore the law and think that salvation equates exemption from the law. Here’ s an example; You wonder why “Sam” is driving a brand new vehicle and you’ve prayed for a new one for so long. “Sam” doesn’t go to church if it’s not a holiday and lives according to his own will on most days. But here you are doing what you think is Soldier in the Army work and the Lord knows the desires of your heart, yet you’ve been stuck with the same mechanical issue stricken vehicle for the last five years. How is this fair? While Sam may be lacking in his spirituality and in developing a closer relationship with the Father through Christ, Sam does what it takes to get what he wants.
As Christians I think we fall prey to victimization of lack because we have equated our salvation to exemption. We don’t take the laws, that are created to help us increase our discipline (which is a christian principle), serious enough. This includes paying your bills on time, being accountable for actions past and present, and not abusing or manipulating any system that may offer assistance. We can’t do the opposite of these things and then wonder when is it my turn Lord? Your turn may never come if you don’t fork over the keys to the chains that hold you hostage and that keep you in bondage. Your freedom is in your obedience. Your blessing is waiting for you in your obedience. Let your actions be that of an heir to royalty-you were not meant to be a slave and live in lack! Be disciplined and get busy reclaiming your freedom! Yes you’re justified but you are not exempt!
Lord help us to honor you and all that we do, do unto your glory (1Cor. 10:31). We want to not only be believers but to be disciplined disciples always creating an atmosphere of worship with and through our actions. We’ve disappointed you in the past and then asked for you to rescue us without reprimand, we repent right now heavenly father. Create in us a clean heart that is willing and dedicated to do what is required of us as your heir. Humble us and continue to chastise us. We are forever grateful for your unconditional love and grace. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Read Hebrews 12: 3-11
I read a fascinating devotion today from My Utmost for his Highest by Oswald Chambers. It spoke about our personality vs. our individuality and how it is our personality that is designed to want more and more of God and it is our individuality that keeps us from getting there!
Ultimately our individuality feeds our fleshy desire to do as we please and to take the easy way out instead of disciplining ourselves in order to reach the greatness that we are destined for. I believe that so many people fail at accomplishing goals and maximizing purpose because they didn’t tap into their strength to overcome individuality (I’m guilty as well). Individuality separates us from God and makes us believe we can do things our own way and without his help and outside of his will.Even in our day to day actions and our quest to accomplish all that we can, we struggle with ourselves. We allow our thoughts and imagination to win and we become consumed with pleasing those thoughts to be disobedient, to pray less, to go to church less, to love ourselves more than we do others, to be selfish, or to be conniving. We’ve all been there and these actions and behaviors push us further away from our purpose. These actions and behaviors are those you find when you go through the gate that is broad and that leads to destruction. The discipline that is in your personality is found when you choose the narrow gate. This is the gate that will lead to life. Only a few find it, are you among that few? Choose the narrow gate today! Let personality overcome individuality!